Cleared Middleton teacher Andrew Harris returning to classroom - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Middleton teacher Andrew Harris returning to classroom Jan. 27

MIDDLETON, Wisconsin (WKOW) -- The Middleton-Cross Plains school teacher fired for looking at explicit images on a work computer during school hours will return to the classroom.

Andrew Harris, who at the time of his dismissal was working as a seventh grade science teacher at Glacier Creek Middle School, will return to the district teaching the same grade level and subject at Kromrey Middle School.

His first day will be January 24, which is scheduled for professional development. Harris will begin teaching students January 27.
Harris's reinstatement comes after a costly and lengthy legal battle.

Harris appealed his 2010 firing and an arbitrator ruled in 2012 that the district should have instead suspended him for two weeks.

The school district appealed. The arbitrator's decision was upheld in both circuit and appellate court. The Wisconsin Supreme Court then earlier this month declined to take up the case, validating the ruling as final.
The district spent between $900-thousand and $1-million on the entire case.

"That's something hard for me to fathom, spending that kind of money," said Superintendent Don Johnson. "But the board of education believed it was doing the right thing."

Johnson said a memo was sent out Tuesday afternoon to all staff and parents detailing the deal regarding Harris's return to the district.

The reinstatement plan was finalized at Monday night's school board meeting. It was presented to Harris's union representatives Tuesday afternoon, and Johnson said Tuesday evening that Harris had accepted the terms. 

Johnson said he's aware that some parents will not want their children in Harris's classroom. But he said, while the district will "take requests," it's not likely they'll accommodate them.

"If we complied with one request we'd have to comply, potentially, with multiple ones," Johnson said.


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